Today the real work began. We set bright and early to begin our first research dive. Aiming for George Dog Island, we ended up diving at a different spot due to a vicious current. We ended up staying under for about 50 minutes because we were diving in shallower water, about 25 feet. During the dive, we quickly found our first research site, a small mound-like reef with many wrasse. After setting up a boundary, we were able to record valuable data regarding the relationship between blue headed wrasse and coral reef health before moving on. We continued our dive, looking for another testable site, but ran out of both time and air. However, during our search, we came across a school of squid, swimming near the surface. I later found out that a school of squid is not called a squad, tragic. After a couple hours of tranquil weather and sunny skies easing away the current, the second dive was back in the bay of George Dog Island. With a little more experience under my belt, my group successfully tested two sites, one with an abundance of healthy coral and one without. Dodging forests of stinging fire coral, we collected the data and escaped to the boat, only losing one border marker.
Lunch consisted of tying the two dive boats together, feasting on delicious PB&J’s, and trying to avoid feeding the shoals of yellow-tail snappers. Then, we set out for the mangrove of a small inlet further north on the island. Snorkeling along the perimeter, we came across several different species of sea cucumber, many juvenile barracudas, and a massive, formidable porcupine fish. We then returned to the boats, and travelled back to the main docks.
Once back at the resort, we processed our data in the comfort of our house. A couple hours later, after frisbee with Mr. Marr and swimming in the ocean, we ended the day with senior graduation presents, tiki torches, and delicious pulled pork sandwiches made by Casey.